The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Test \Test\, n. [OE. test test, or cupel, potsherd, F. t[^e]t,
from L. testum an earthen vessel; akin to testa a piece of
burned clay, an earthen pot, a potsherd, perhaps for tersta,
and akin to torrere to patch, terra earth (cf. Thirst, and
Terrace), but cf. Zend tasta cup. Cf. Test a shell,
Testaceous, Tester a covering, a coin, Testy,
1. (Metal.) A cupel or cupelling hearth in which precious
metals are melted for trial and refinement.
Our ingots, tests, and many mo. --Chaucer.
2. Examination or trial by the cupel; hence, any critical
examination or decisive trial; as, to put a man's
assertions to a test. "Bring me to the test." --Shak.
3. Means of trial; as, absence is a test of love.
Each test every light her muse will bear. --Dryden.
4. That with which anything is compared for proof of its
genuineness; a touchstone; a standard.
Life, force, and beauty must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of art.
5. Discriminative characteristic; standard of judgment;
ground of admission or exclusion.
Our test excludes your tribe from benefit. --Dryden.
6. Judgment; distinction; discrimination.
Who would excel, when few can make a test
Betwixt indifferent writing and the best? --Dryden.
7. (Chem.) A reaction employed to recognize or distinguish
any particular substance or constituent of a compound, as
the production of some characteristic precipitate; also,
the reagent employed to produce such reaction; thus, the
ordinary test for sulphuric acid is the production of a
white insoluble precipitate of barium sulphate by means of
some soluble barium salt.
8. A set of questions to be answered or problems to be
solved, used as a means to measure a person's knowledge,
aptitude, skill, intelligence, etc.; in school settings,
synonymous with examination or exam; as, an
intelligence test. Also used attributively; as a test
score, test results.
Test act (Eng. Law), an act of the English Parliament
prescribing a form of oath and declaration against
transubstantiation, which all officers, civil and
military, were formerly obliged to take within six months
after their admission to office. They were obliged also to
receive the sacrament according to the usage of the Church
of England. --Blackstone.
Test object (Optics), an object which tests the power or
quality of a microscope or telescope, by requiring a
certain degree of excellence in the instrument to
determine its existence or its peculiar texture or
(a) (Chem.) Paper prepared for use in testing for certain
substances by being saturated with a reagent which
changes color in some specific way when acted upon by
those substances; thus, litmus paper is turned red by
acids, and blue by alkalies, turmeric paper is turned
brown by alkalies, etc.
(b) (Law) An instrument admitted as a standard or
comparison of handwriting in those jurisdictions in
which comparison of hands is permitted as a mode of
Test tube. (Chem.)
(a) A simple tube of thin glass, closed at one end, for
heating solutions and for performing ordinary
(b) A graduated tube.
Syn: Criterion; standard; experience; proof; experiment;
Usage: Test, Trial. Trial is the wider term; test is a
searching and decisive trial. It is derived from the
Latin testa (earthen pot), which term was early
applied to the fining pot, or crucible, in which
metals are melted for trial and refinement. Hence the
peculiar force of the word, as indicating a trial or
criterion of the most decisive kind.
I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose
trial shall better publish his commediation.
Thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of
Like purest gold, that tortured in the furnace,
Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its